We’re rebranding, says new SalmonChile boss

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New organization president, Arturo Clement, sees tracings of new Chilean brand in smaller grow-outs

Chilean salmon production will grow by six percent or 850,000 tonnes in 2018, the new president of the country’s salmon-producers association has said.

“This year the growth has been driven by good results, the amount of fish is almost the same, but today we are harvesting fish over five kilos, while the average in Chile was about four kilos,” Economia y Negocios reported Arturo Clement as saying. He added that 11 percent of all Chilean farmed salmon still die before reaching market. That’s about half of the mortality rate of previous years, however, and the industry also achieved better prices and shorter grow-out cycles.

Brighter future
The future, too, looks bright for a 63,000-strong Chilean salmon-farming value chain now saying its also eyeing China as a future market.

“Today we are the second world producer of salmon and we want Chileans to be proud of this,” Clement said, adding, “Health indicators are better than ever, what we can not do is as before: we had a good price and we grew 35 percent.”

Clement took over the new job on Jan. 2nd, 2018 from Felipe Sandoval. Since then he’s met with government, business and the country’s small-scale harvesters. The work has been about “defining the new type of production”.

“The model we have today is for the 80’s and 90’s … we have to look for a dynamic and modern productive scheme, which is what we want to study this year and, hopefully, transform it in the future into new laws,” Clement said.

Artisan inspiration
He hinted that the company could go to local, small-scale fishermen for supplies of salmon. The engagement he had in mind was left unclear, but any such gesture would sound a conciliatory note with small-scale growers who still blame “corporate harvesters” for a range of past ills that include a devastating algal bloom that devastated the biomass of large and small fish farmers alike.

His meeting appears to not only have been about reconciliation. Clement suggested “artisanal” farmers could give Chilean salmon an identity to rival the repute of northern-hemisphere producers with their cold, clear, clean marketing mantra.

“Today our Chilean salmon is not perceived in the same way as Norwegian or Scottish,” Clement was quoted as saying: “There is no country image (for Chilean salmon), and that requires change.”

That contact with small-scale growers will be harnessed for a new image by a newly coined Chilean Salmon Marketing Council that’ll work in No. 1 market, the U.S., with government agency, ProChile, and Chile’s successful wine promoters.